Turkey is not going to be signing any deals for Israeli natural gas exports any time soon – at least, according to a statement by Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz.
The Turkish energy mogul said Tuesday that Ankara was unlikely to approve construction of a gas pipeline from Israel to Turkey. Yildiz blamed the sour relations with Israel on the Jewish State’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge this summer against Hamas and allied terrorists. The operation was carried out to silence the incessant, deadly rocket fire being aimed at Israeli civilian families in the southern part of the country.
Jordan, however, has just concluded a deal to import natural gas from Israel over the next 15 years, at a cost of some $15 billion.
The massive Leviathan natural gas field discovered beneath the waters of the Mediterranean, off the northern coast of Israel, turned the Jewish State into a regional energy exporter practically overnight. Talks between the Leviathan consortium and Turkish counterparts subsequently had been taking place quietly over the past year, but politics sabotaged any deals that might otherwise have come to fruition.
“For energy projects to proceed, the human tragedy in Gaza will have to be stopped and Israel will have to instate a permanent peace there with all elements,” Yildiz told reporters in Ankara. “It is out of question to proceed on any energy project unless a permanent peace is established, with contribution from all sides and with necessary conditions. A human tragedy unfolded (in Gaza); it is all too easily forgotten.”
Relations between Turkey and Israel have been limping since 2006, when the number of attacks from Gaza escalated sharply. Israel was forced at the time into launching a maritime and overland blockade of Gaza when Hamas and allied terrorists carried out a cross-border attack and abducting an IDF soldier. In that attack, two other soldiers were killed and a third was critically wounded.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AKP party have long been strong supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood — which spawned the Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza. Likewise, Erdogan and Turkey continue to defend actions by Hamas, regardless of the consequences.